Five-year-old FrankieElizabeth Staiti has been barred from her Staten Island elementary school because she did not get a chicken pox vaccination prior to enrollment.
Her family doctor recommended she not receive the injection because her younger sister might suffer from an autoimmune disorder, and if so, exposure to the pathogens found in the chicken pox vaccine could kill her.
This recommendation seems to be in direct contrast to the general guidelines set forward by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a federal advisory committee sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The ACIP actually recommends family members of immunosuppressed patients receive the chicken pox vaccine.
"There have only been 8 documented cases of tranmission of the vaccine strain from an individual to a close contact so that is why we recommend immunizing children who are siblings of immunosuppressed patients" Harry Keyserling, MD and Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University told Parenting. "So, when we are trying to protect a vulnerable child, like a sibling, it is actually important for everyone around the child to be protected from chicken pox."
"There are only rare situations where we would recommend withholding chicken pox vaccine from a sibling. An example would be when the sibling has an acute bone marrow transplant," he said.
Without the vaccination, FrankieElizabeth is seen as a danger to her classmates and is no longer allowed to attend class, or even step foot on her school’s campus.
Staiti’s mother, Elizabeth Wagner, requested a medical exemption from the New York City Department of Education because of her family’s particular situation, but was denied.
The department issued a statement saying, “The medical exemption was denied after a thorough review with the parent and the student’s doctor. A student can be excluded from school for not having the required vaccines.”
Wagner denies she was part of the department's evaluation process and plans to appeal the decision, reports ABC News.
"The doctor is telling me it could be harmful to the baby. Like I said, even if it's a small chance, I don't want to take the chance and give me any other parent that would take a chance with their newborn. I'm not willing to take that chance," she said.
In the meantime, FrankieElizabeth cannot attend class, so her mother is considering homeschooling her.
Did you vaccinate your children? What do you think about FrankieElizabeth's situation?